Medical anthropologists have identified several major eras of human disease, starting with the Age of Pestilence and Famine to the stage we’re in now, the Age of Degenerative and Man-Made Diseases. In 1900 in the United States, the top-three killers were infectious diseases: pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrheal disease. Now, the killers seem to be largely lifestyle diseases: heart disease, cancer, and chronic lung disease. Is this because antibiotics allow us to live long enough to suffer from degenerative diseases? No. The emergence of these chronic disease epidemics seem to have been accompanied by dramatic shifts in dietary patterns, best exemplified by what’s been happening to disease rates among people in the developing world as they’ve Westernized their diets.
In 1990 around the world, most years of healthy life were lost to under-nutrition, such as diarrheal diseases in malnourished children. Now, the greatest disease burden is attributed to high blood pressure, a disease of over-nutrition. The chronic disease pandemic has been ascribed in part to the near-universal shift toward a diet dominated by animal-sourced and processed foods—in other words, more meat, dairy, eggs, oils, refined grains, soda, salt, and sugar.
In 1776, each American consumed about 4 pounds of sugar annually. That had risen to 20 pounds by 1850 and 120 pounds by 1994. Today, we may be closer to ingesting 160 pounds of sugar every year, half of which may be fructose, taking up about 10 percent of our diet.
Even researchers paid by the likes of The Coca-Cola Company acknowledge sugar is empty calories without essential micronutrients. Concern has been raised, though, that sugar calories may be worse than just empty. Mounting evidence suggests that, in large enough amounts, added fructose in the form of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup may trigger processes that can lead to liver toxicity and other chronic diseases.
Under the American Heart Association’s sugar guidelines, most American women should consume no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars, with the maximum for most American men being 150 daily calories. That means one can of soda could take us over the top for the entire day.
The World Health Organization recommends we reduce our added sugars, along with consumption of salt, trans fats, and saturated fats, because consumption of such foods may be the cause of at least 14 million deaths every year from chronic diseases.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Popular Videos for Sugar
All Videos for Sugar
Diet and Caloric Restriction for Longevity—The Monkey Trials
How can we make sense of the disparate results from the four primate studies on caloric restriction and lifespan?
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Without Sleeping Pills
Taking less than just 18 Ambien-class sleeping pills in an entire year may triple the risk of dying prematurely.
The Benefits of Gum Chewing for Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Are any gum flavors better than others?
Is Spicy Food Good for You?
Those who eat spicy foods regularly tend to live longer, but is it cause-and-effect?
The Best Time to Exercise for Weight Loss
Burn off significantly more body fat exercising before meals, rather than after them.
Improving VO2 Max: A Look at Vegetarian and Vegan Athletes
Plant-based diets improve the performance of athletes and nonathletes alike.
A Case of Stage 3 Cancer Reversal with Fasting
I go over a case report of water-only fasting, followed by a whole food, plant-based diet for follicular lymphoma.
Update on Erythritol Sweetener Safety: Are There Side Effects?
Why are erythritol levels in the blood associated with higher levels of chronic disease?
How Much Erythritol Sweetener Is Too Much?
What are the maximum acute and daily doses for adults and children to avoid gastrointestinal effects?
Soul Food That’s Good for the Soul
The best of soul food’s origins are tied to the plant-centric West African diet.
Does Getting Enough Sleep Help You Lose Weight?
Even getting just one more hour of sleep a night may help with weight control.
The Fat-Blocking and Appetite-Suppressing Effects of Thylakoids
What is a natural way to cut down on unhealthy food cravings?
The Best Diet for Cancer Patients
What diet should oncologists recommend?
Erythritol vs. Xylitol for Preventing Cavities (Tooth Decay) – UPDATE: don’t eat! (See doc note below)
Both erythritol and xylitol are not just neutral, but beneficial for dental health. Which one wins out?
How to Avoid the Boomerang Effect of Remedy Messaging
How can mandating healthy eating messaging on fast-food ads ironically make things worse?
Using the Cigarette Tax Playbook Against Big Food
How might we replicate one of our great public health victories—the reduction of smoking rates—in the field of nutrition?
Is Allulose a Healthy Sweetener?
Are rare sugars like allulose a healthy alternative for traditional sweeteners?
Does the Sweetener Allulose Have Side Effects?
How safe are fourth-generation sweeteners, such as the rare sugar allulose?
The Best Diet for Healthy Aging
Swapping just 1 percent of plant protein in place of animal protein was associated with signiﬁcantly less age-related deﬁcit accumulation.
Conflicts of Interest in the Annals of Internal Medicine Meat Studies
The same person paid by Big Sugar to downplay the risks of sugar was paid by Big Meat to downplay the risks of meat.
Observational Studies Show Similar Results to Randomized Controlled Trials
How legitimate is the common corporate criticism of the scientific nutrition literature that the credibility of observational studies is questionable?
How Big Sugar Manipulated the Science for Dietary Guidelines
How did Big Corn Syrup and other corporate sugar titans hijack the scientific process?
How Big Sugar Undermines Dietary Guidelines
International Life Sciences Organization, a nonprofit, is accused of being a front group for Coca-Cola and other junk food giants.
Are the Health Benefits of Nuts Limited to Those Eating Bad Diets?
Do nut eaters live longer simply because they swap in protein from plants in place of animal protein?
Potassium Chloride Salt Substitute Side Effects
Healthy kidneys are required for potassium excretion. If you aren’t sure if you’re at risk, ask your doctor about getting your kidney function tested.
Foods to Help Protect Your Arteries from Saturated Fat
If you’re going to have something unhealthy, is there anything you can eat with it to help mediate the damage it may cause?
Saturated Fat Causes Artery and Lung Inflammation
What happens within hours of eating a high-fat meal?
Ultra-Processed Junk Food Put to the Test
What happened when ultra-processed foods were matched for calories, sugar, fat, and ﬁber content in the first randomized controlled trial?
IARC: Processed Meat Like Bacon Causes Cancer
How did the meat industry, government, and cancer organizations respond to the confirmation that processed meat, like bacon, ham, hot dogs, and lunch meat, causes cancer?
Do the Health Benefits of Peanut Butter Include Longevity?
Why are nuts associated with decreased mortality, but not peanut butter?
Why Don’t People Eat Healthier?
The so-called optimism bias may get in the way of a healthy lifestyle.
How to Reduce the Glycemic Impact of Potatoes
Broccoli, vinegar, and lemon juice are put to the test to blunt the glycemic index of white potatoes.
Which Foods Are Anti-Inflammatory?
Foods that reduce inflammation. What does an anti-inflammatory diet look like?
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Inflammatory markers can double within six hours of eating a pro-inflammatory meal. Which foods are the worst?
Onions Put to the Test for Weight Loss, Cholesterol, and PCOS Treatment
Weight loss, cholesterol, and PCOS treatment with diet. What can an eighth of a teaspoon a day of onion powder do for body fat, and what can raw red onion do for cholesterol?
Plant-Based Eating Score Put to the Test
How can you get a perfect diet score?
Hospitals with 100 Percent Plant-Based Menus
The American Medical Association has passed a resolution encouraging healthy plant-based food options be available in hospitals.
Fiber vs. Low FODMAP for SIBO Symptoms
It may not be the number of bacteria growing in your small intestine, but the type of bacteria, which can be corrected with diet.
Are Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Tests Valid?
Even if we could accurately diagnose SIBO, if there is no difference in symptoms between those testing positive and those testing negative, then what’s the point?
The Food That Can Downregulate a Metastatic Cancer Gene
Women with breast cancer should include the “liberal culinary use of cruciferous vegetables.”